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“Jeweller unearths a gem people will die for, gates to other worlds mysteriously open and the biggest danger imaginable threatens the realm.”
A clever combination of mystery, fantasy and adventure, DRAYKON is the first novel in the eBook trilogy by Charlotte E. English. Following two female protagonists, talented but anxious Llandry Sanfaer and the experienced High Summoner Lady Evastany Glostrum, DRAYKON threw me into a vivid world complete with its own plants, creatures and history.
When Llandry stumbles upon a cave filled with the beautiful but mysterious gemstone istore, demand for her jewellery begins to unexpectedly soar. Overwhelmed by the unexplainable fervour surrounding her work and horrified by the gruesome deaths beginning to be linked to her pieces, Llandry is instructed to stop trading and hand over any remaining istore.
As High Summoner, Eva takes it upon herself to investigate the deaths and randomly opening gates to other Realms, but as her search grows deeper and more complex she discovers much more than she was ever anticipating.
English writes with a careful flair, she knows exactly how to build stunning scenery and her characters are well developed and likeable. The two point of view characters are very different from the stereotypical fantasy heroines; Llandry is young but not inexplicably special or strong while Eva is older, capable and sensible.
I was initially a little put off in the prologue when I realised Llandry had wings as I very rarely knowingly pick up a fantasy book that involves ‘fairies’ but I’m glad I kept going. The Darklanders are essentially humans with added wings, nowhere near the classic fairy archetype.
One of the particularly striking features of this novel for me was the world building. Eva and Llandry both live in the Middle Realms; akin to our world it lays between the two unstable and magical Off-Worlds each with its own wildlife, nature and dangers.
Perhaps the most interesting element of English’s worldbuilding is the differences between the inhabitants of the Daylands, such as Eva, and the Darklands, like Llandry. Daylanders live in perpetual sunlight, while Darklanders’ eyes have grown accustom to only the light given from small floating orbs. This is a completely new concept to me and I loved the originality and how it plays a role in the narrative.
DRAYKON has a great pace and builds piece by piece to a fantastic and dramatic ending that I definitely didn’t see coming. The plot is original and exciting, the mystery genre element kept me guessing throughout and I was totally hooked very early on. As my first free eBook I wasn’t sure what to expect from DRAYKON, but if the standard set by Charlotte E. English is anything to go by I will definitely be downloading more! Sequel LOKANT is already on my Kindle ready to go!